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Epitaph Two: The Return

Episode Number:


Original Air Date: 29th january 2010 original air date was 22 / 01 / 10 was shifted due to the televised haiti appeals.



Special Guest(s):

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Episode Synopsis

This episode is set in 2020. After travelling from Los Angeles, Zone, Mag and Caroline have reached Safe Haven. However Topher who has been rescued after being forced to work for Rossum, is close to finishing a plan that will restore the world population's original personas. However to do so, everyone must return to the Dollhouse to complete this plan.


The year is 2020. A man is seen wandering around the California-Nevada border. Butchers arrive shortly and strike down the man. Zone wakes up and spots the Butchers coming for them. Caroline (that is, a ten-year-old girl who had been imprinted with Caroline Ferrell's personality) and Mag, who have been fetching water, rush back and quickly get back into their vehicle to drive away with the Butchers in pursuit. Mag wonders if they are on the right track. Caroline believes so, but isn't fully sure given the time difference between now and when she was copied. Caroline thinks there is still a chance to live a "true world", but Zone is quick to rebuff this.

The group pulls into a nearby barn, but are shortly kidnapped and brought to Neuropolis, the city of minds, formerly Tucson, Arizona. They are quickly locked up in a cell with other possible actuals or dumbshows (wiped personas). Caroline tells them that this is where Rossum Headquarters used to be. Zone is angry at Caroline for not informing them that Safe Haven was close to Neuropolis. However Caroline explains they have done it intentionally as they frequently raid it. Mr. Ambrose, who is in a new body, informs Mr. Harding (also in a new body) that they have found suitable candidates for Harding to upgrade to. As Harding inspects the bodies, he sees one of them is Ballard who is posing as a dumbshow.

Harding runs out of the room, leaving Ballard to take out Mr. Ambrose. In the cell, Caroline tells Mag and Zone everything will be alright. Zone isn't so sure, but Echo appears and takes out the guards. Harding arrives and blames Echo for causing the apocalyptic situation by killing the heads of Rossum. Echo kills him, despite his gloating that her efforts are in vain. Echo gives one of the people in the cell medical attention, and Caroline reveals herself to Echo. Ballard finds Topher, whose condition has drastically decreased from "Epitaph One". He has been kidnapped and forced to work for Rossum. Topher, in his babbling, reveals that Rossum shot a person for every day he didn't complete a tech that would wipe the planet.

Echo arrives and tries to calm Topher down. In seemingly a moment of clarity, Topher claims "he can bring back the world". At Safe Haven, Adelle digs up some strawberries from the garden. She hands them to a young boy nicknamed "T", who brings it back to his mother, Priya (formerly Sierra). They shortly start dinner, but Echo and Ballard arrive back at the house bringing Zone, Mag, Caroline and Topher with them. Echo explains to the rest of the group Rossum's latest agenda. Ballard tells them that Topher has an idea which can restore everyone to their original selves. Zone rebuffs this and insults Topher in the process, inciting Adelle's rage. Echo does not think Topher's plan is a pipe-dream, something shared by Caroline.

However, Echo believes that because they possess the active architecture, they will be reset to their original selves prior to the installation of their active architecture. This is undesirable for Priya as she would lose memories of her son, for Ballard who could be returned to his brain-dead state, and for Echo, who needs to keep her memories so she can still fight the war. Ballard says to survive and for Topher to finish the tech, they must return to the Dollhouse and hide there for at least a year to escape the effect of the worldwide "reset".

The group will need guides, meaning Zone and Mag will have to come too. Zone is reluctant to go back, but Adelle threatens Zone once again. An alarm sounds and the group takes arms to defend themselves. However it turns out to be Victor and his crew responding to a call from Echo. Victor and his crew (including former dolls such as Kilo and Romeo) are equipped with a new tech that allows them to swap out different skill sets with the use of a hand-held imprinting device and store their excess skill data on USB flash drives. Priya expresses her displeasure of having to be around Victor. She has been trying to keep T from the tech that has destroyed her and is reluctant to leave. Victor threatens one of his crew, telling him never to show tech in front of his child again. Zone has finally come around and is going to help the group.

The group finishes packing ad begins their journey back to the LA Dollhouse. Inside the truck, Topher continues to work on his device, watched over by Adelle and Caroline. Priya begins to talk with Anthony after T falls asleep. However, their conversation quickly descends to an argument about their responsibilities. Victor believes in the fight for the cause so he can protect T, whereas Priya just wants to make sure their child is raised responsibly and away from the tech. Meanwhile, Echo is obviously impatient. Even if this plan works, they will still need to destroy the backups of Harding and Ambrose to ensure Rossum's demise. Ballard and Echo begin to flirt and he wonders when this mission is complete, will Echo finally let him "in". Ballard notes, that even though Echo has 100 people inside her, she's still the loneliest person.

The truck reaches their destination, and the group begin their fight through the butchers into old service tunnels to enter the Dollhouse. Mag is shot in the legs by a Butcher and Ballard goes back to tend to her. However, he is killed by a stray shot to the head, leaving Zone to carry Mag through the tunnels. Victor and Echo rappel down into the Dollhouse. However the Dollhouse has residents inside, all of whom have been wiped. Alpha appears, and Victor and Echo embrace him. Alpha explains he saw people that needed help and settled at the Dollhouse. He asks for Ballard, but Victor explains he has just died. Echo and Adelle search Topher's office for the tech, so he can finish his device but find nothing. Victor's crew come into the office and turn their weapons on Topher. They don't want to give up their imprints, and plan to use the Dollhouse to get further upgrades and rule the Wasteland. Victor walks in, shortly followed by Alpha and they both attempt to talk the crew down. Victor gives up his USB drives.

The crew takes that as a sign Victor is siding with the others and turn their weapons onto him. However, Alpha, Victor, and Echo surprise the crew, disarm them, and place them in isolation. Adelle tends to Topher, telling Alpha that he is tired. Topher realises it's bedtime and runs to the pods. Alpha has not touched Topher's shrine since they left in "Epitaph One". Topher looks around his pod, finding a formula he has needed to complete his device. Adelle notes that Topher didn't come back for any tech; it was for an idea he needed. Priya, who has taken Anthony's USB drives, begins to destroy them. Echo tells Priya that Anthony loves her, and that's all that matters. However, Echo quickly loses control of her emotions, overcome by the realisation that she never told Ballard how she felt about him. She collapses on the floor, grief-stricken.

In Topher's office, Alpha begins to build Topher's device, while Topher himself watches a video of Bennett Halverson explaining imprinting 101. Alpha finishes the device, and Adelle asks where they set it off. Topher says that the higher the place, the better. Adelle suggests with her old office, in which Topher agrees, and in the midst of his babbling, says the "explosion" will set off a chain reaction. Adelle, who knows the device must be set manually, realises that Topher does not intend to come back. Topher says it's a small price to pay, and he didn't want to cause any more pain. Anthony sits alone, burning his upgrades. Priya brings T over and introduces him to his father. Priya is happy to see father and son getting along. Adelle tells Topher he doesn't have to do this alone. Topher says he will fix what he did to their heads and Adelle needs to fix the rest of the world. He notes that Adelle's job is going to be harder.

Zone finds Mag watching over one of Victor's crew members. Zone tells Mag he's going to be taking Caroline to the surface and is going to watch over her, after she is restored to her original self. Mag, who cannot leave after being confined to a wheelchair, joking orders him "not to have any influence on [the girl] whatsoever", and to look them up in a year or so. Zone reveals that prior to the apocalyptic events he was a landscape architect. Mag reveals she was at Berkeley for sociology. On the balcony, Echo and Adelle are talking to each other, while they watch over the residents. Adelle tells Echo that Alpha left and wants to be alone when he finds out to what extent he will be restored too, and Echo replies that he won't be restored; he's evolved, same as her. Adelle explains she will take the rest of the residents outside so they too will be restored. She notes that it is funny that the last fantasy that the Dollhouse should realise would be Echo's.

They embrace as Adelle leaves to gather the residents. She tells Echo that Alpha has said to dismantle the tech, starting with the chair. Caroline leaves with Zone, but takes one last look at Echo. Zone asks if she has second thoughts. Caroline says no, and that she is the lucky one as she gets to start over. Adelle, Caroline, Zone, and the residents are waiting outside.

Topher arrives in Adelle's old office and assembles the device. He takes one last look around and spots the "To Remember" wall. The device goes off causing an explosion and sending a pulse out. The residents and Caroline collapse. However, they all wake up shortly with their original personalities. Echo makes her way back to the chair. An envelope with her name printed on it has been left on the chair, and Echo opens it to find a wedge. She puts it in the chair and imprints herself. It is revealed that the wedge contains Ballard's imprint. They talk in Echo's mind, and Ballard asks if Echo has the room for him. Echo says they will work through it. Priya and Anthony are reading a book to their son. Echo walks to the pod room, and comes to rest inside a pod as the series ends.

Best Moments

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Best Quotes

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Episode Trivia

  • --Amy Acker (Clare Saunders/Whiskey), Miracle Laurie (Madeline Costly/Mellie/November) and Reed Diamond were listed in promotional material released by Fox as appearing in this episode. However, this was not the case and it appears Fox attempted to hide potential final fates of the characters in question. In Miracle Laurie's case, the actress herself confirmed on twitter that the previous episode "The Hollow Men" was her final one
  • --Rossum executive Clive Ambrose, previously played by Philip Casnoff, is shown in a new body portrayed by Nate Dushku, Eliza Dushku's older brother. Matthew Harding, played by recurring actor Keith Carradine, is now portrayed by Noah Harpster.
  • --When he figures out how to cure all the dolls, Topher mentions the pineal gland, which Descartes once referred to as "the seat of the soul."